Nine out of 10 business-to-business brands incorporate content marketing through ongoing communications and events, but only 30 percent say they use content marketing effectively, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Recently the CMI hosted 3,500 professionals at the annual Content Marketing World conference in order to help businesses improve the state of the art. And there was much to learn. The following summary provides some of the key takeaways that are shaping the creation of branded editorial content for companies ranging from Dove to LEGO.
- Understand Your “Why”
One of the reasons companies are stumbling with content marketing is they fail to answer a fundamental question: “why are we creating content?” Marketers are often planning the next infographic, blog post or video for their campaigns without first understanding the motivation behind content. Creating content means examining, at a very fundamental level:
The Why for Your Brand
Why does your company do what you do? And how does the “why” of what you do influence the content you create? If you don’t know, ask until you get down to your core value. This tip from Rachel Mann, Digital Content Strategist at American Fidelity, reminds content creators that you exist to solve your customers’ business pain.
The Why for Your Content
As content strategist Jill Golden noted, understanding the why behind your content requires following these steps:
- Stop creating content that obviously fails to serve a purpose to support your brand, as noted by Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi.
- Find a purpose that gives you goosebumps, as comedian Michael, Jr. demonstrated via a keynote address. Content that taps into the soul of your company should make you feel something inside when you see it — such as a sense of satisfaction that you are putting good ideas into the world or a sense of being challenged.
- Get your inspiration from the world around you, by talking to your customers and engaging with your community.
These steps will ensure that you answer “why?” with a sense of purpose.
- Don’t Forget Search Engine Optimization
Organic search (aka search engine optimization, or SEO) is alive and well, but too many marketers are focusing on keyword phrases as opposed to finding the right topics that their customers are looking for. Be aware of the types of topics your customers are interested in by following industry publications, asking your customers directly, and reading content that your peers create. Search engine optimization is really optimizing your content for your customers who do searches, not for Google.
- Customer Relationships Are at the Heart of Content
We often think of content marketing as a customer acquisition tool, and indeed content should make your brand more visible when prospects search for companies and services in your field. But content is also about creating experiences and sharing ideas that nurture customer relationships. For instance, LEGO famously collaborates with customers with user-generated content, which not only deepens brand love with existing customers but also gives LEGO insight into the design of future products that will make customers happy. LEGO isn’t about selling more toy bricks. It’s about creating customers and keeping them for life through content. Similarly, a business-to-business brand can use content marketing to nurture relationships, examples being the sharing of how-to information targeted specifically to customers in the form of private newsletters and presentations.
Content Marketing World is more than an event. It’s a source of inspiration for the many businesses (including ours) that rely on content marketing as part of their event and communications strategies. For more insights from this event, check out “5 Must-Read Recaps of Content Marketing World 2016” from Brafton.
Image source: contentmarketingworld.com
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